Category Archives: book recommendations

Best Books of 2016 (so far) March Edition

During the Michigan Reading Association Conference this weekend, I shared my recommended children’s and young adult literature titles for early 2016. I have expanded the list and posted it here for anyone interested. This list is current as of the books I read today. Thousands of books are published for young readers each year. I read approximately 350-400 books each year, which is a drop in the bucket!



  • do not recommend books that I have not read.
  • “Best” is subjective. I filter my evaluations through my own book knowledge, my teaching and reading experiences, and the reading experiences of my reading community, which includes children. I don’t think every book on this list is perfect or exemplifies award-worthy criteria, but I do believe there is something for every reader.
  • I receive many ARC’s from kind publishers and authors. Receipt of a book does not guarantee promotion.
  • I buy hundreds of books a year. I often have to wait for a book’s release before I can read it. Tuesday, which is a popular book release day, is my favorite day of the week! I don’t think my UPS delivery person agrees.
  • When creating any book list, I strive to balance diversity, genre, reader interest, and recommended ages. I am bound by what books I can acquire at any given time.
  • If you do not see a personal favorite or much-lauded title, assume that I haven’t read it or I haven’t acquired or borrowed a copy, yet. 


In years past, I have sorted my annual lists into several categories including poetry, graphic novels, picture books, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, and nonfiction. I chose to divide books into only three categories this year: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I want to reinforce that picture books and graphic novels are formats for storytelling and do not define or limit a reader’s age. Picture books and graphic novels are for everyone.


the first step

I use many sources to locate and research books I would like to purchase or borrow including recommendations from friends, colleagues, family members, and kids; children’s and young adult literature conferences and workshops; book review publications and blogs; and publishers’ catalogs & websites.

Here is the list of my recommended children’s and young adult titles of early 2016.


gertie's leap to greatness

I hope you enjoy the list and find some new titles to read and share. I will update this list throughout the year and share new books as I read and evaluate them. I post a lot of my presentations and lists to my slideshare page. You can subscribe and get an alert when I add new content.

Happy Reading!